Dundalk captain Brian Gartland praised his side’s never-say-die attitude after they struck another late winner to see off St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday.
Sean Hoare’s deflected winner in the 90th minute kept the Lilywhites on top of the table and came just four days after Patrick Hoban broke Bohs’ hearts with a second stoppage time penalty against them in the space of five weeks.
While Vinny Perth’s side have been praised for never giving up, Gartland feels it’s a trait Dundalk have had as long as he has been at the club.
“We’ve had that trait over every year and I feel you need to have that if you’re going to be challenging,” he said.
“You’ve got to have that mentality. As it goes on you’ve got to keep the belief because if you keep working the ball and keep them moving then they’re going to tire whether it’s a scrappy thing around the box like tonight where they’re a little bit leggy trying to clear the ball and then it hits off us and in. That’s an effect of tired bodies on their part.
“In the first half we could have had more intensity to us but I felt we were well in control of the game. We had a few lovely passages of play but it was just the final ball or final cross that let us down.
“In the second half we really upped it and I thought Jordan Flores was brilliant. His pace of his passing through the lines and up to our front three was excellent and that got us up the pitch and brought more intensity to our game.
“We all kicked on from that and created lots of chances. They’re dangerous too so we were delighted with the clean sheet. We need to be a bit more clinical but we’ll take any goal at that stage.”
The centre half said it was bedlam in the box just before Hoare’s block from Dave Webster cannoned to the net but he insisted it was a “massive goal” for his team.
“I was running left, right and back over from every bounce it was taking just trying to get my toe near it. Then when I saw it hit Seanie, we just started laughing in celebration.
“You’re devastated if you’re Pat’s but for us you’ll take anything at that stage and it’s a massive goal for us.
“Not that it was a great performance but you’ve got to take the positives from it, work on what you need to improve and kick on to the break now because there’s a few more league games to be played.”
Gartland said the priority now was to keep the winning run going against Sligo Rovers on Friday and the following week away to Finn Harps in Ballybofey but he warned those games won’t be easy.
“In theory we’re meant to win every game. If we lose any game it’s the end of the world here because that’s the standards we set but it’s one game at a time.
“We’re happy with where we are. We always feel we can improve. People tend to look back on previous years with rose tinted glasses and remember the big games and the champagne football but there are always plenty of games where you have to grind it out.
“I remember a couple of games in 2016 where we beat Longford and Wexford 3-2 and 4-3 in the last minute and they were two teams at the bottom of the table. They’re dogged games. People forget those games but you have them every year and you’ve got to have the mental character to push through. We’re happy but we expect a lot more from us,” said Gartland.